When it was finally really over, it had been over for more than an hour.
Florida fought gamely, especially while dog-tired in the second half, but it couldn't overcome a deficit it helped create against Kentucky in an 80-61 loss at Rupp Arena on Saturday. The Gators trailed 10-2 and 24-5 in the first half, and would never get closer than 13 points down for the rest of the game.
That hole had plenty to do with Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis, who each turned in among their finest performances. Murray scored a career-high 35 points on just 21 shots, connecting on a phenomenal eight of 10 threes on the afternoon, and Ulis had 18 points and 11 assists — a new high for a Kentucky player under John Calipari — as the Wildcats' steady hand.
On the day, Kentucky made 12 of 20 threes — well beyond their 32 percent clip coming in, and exactly what Florida poured in last Saturday against top-10 West Virginia.
Outside of Dorian Finney-Smith, who had 24 points and eight rebounds, Florida didn't have anyone quite ready for the challenge of the 'Cats going wild in Rupp. Kasey Hill had four points on seven shots, and four fouls ... but he wasn't any worse than Chris Chiozza (three points on eight shots, all from one three) or KeVaughn Allen (three points on six shots, all from a running three to end the first half). John Egbunu had 12 points, but just five rebounds. Devin Robinson and Brandone Francis-Ramirez combined for all of Florida's 15 bench points, outscoring all three starting guards.
And Florida couldn't build on sustained runs, but allowed Kentucky to land combinations. An 11-0 run in the first half was met by an 8-0 Kentucky spurt, and the Wildcats came out of the half on an 8-0 run. After the Gators put together a 10-3 run to close to within 14 in the final 10 minutes, they went scoreless on four straight possessions, allowing Kentucky to survive a stretch of 5:39 without a point without even losing a double-digit edge.
For the Gators, it's a step back at the end of a topsy-turvy fortnight in which Florida has lost twice on the road, failing to score 62 points in either game, and won twice at home, scoring 87 and 88 points in those contests.
But in the SEC, in which home teams are now 46-18 on the year, that's close to par for the course.